Travel Blog: Brussels 2013

On the 3-5th November, Macra na Feirme were honoured to get the chance of sending 3 members on an information trip to Brussels through the European Commission office in Dublin.

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Day 1 - we entered the European Commission in Brussels, and we were welcomed by Mrs Isabella Van Keirsbilck.  We were given an outline of the structure of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council. 

We met with Mr Roger Waite, spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural development, Mrs Patricia Reilly, member of cabinet of Mrs Maire Geoghegan Quinn (commissioner responsible for research, innovation & science), Mrs Betty Lee (economic and policy analyst) speaking on CAP, past, present and future.

Rural Development 2014-2020 was spoken about by Mr Mike Mackenzie, policy officer. We were also briefed by Mr Aymeric Berling (deputy head of 'cross compliance, food and feed legislation').

On our final day we got a tour of the European Parliament.  Upon entering the Parliament we were greeted by Harry O’ Connor who is based in the European Parliament office in Dublin. We learned of the different voting systems used by countries, how the parliament changes every 5 years and how laws are actually made. MEP's Seán Kelly, Jim Higgins, Pat the cope Gallagher, Phil Prendergast, Liam Alyward, Brian Crowley, and Mairead McGuinness to name but a few, were met and questioned.

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We then travelled to Irelands Permanent Representation to the EU where Tipperary man, Dermot Ryan, Irish spokesperson for Agriculture, spoke on his role.

This trip was organised excellently by the European Commission and it was the most worthwhile experience.  It cannot be underestimated the importance of travel and learning through Macra na Feirme – and we are most grateful for this opportunity.

John Murray (Ag Affairs. Committee)

Una Ryan (RYI Committee)

James Boland